Collagen is a large protein that is used to make connective tissue, which holds all other tissues together. Collagen is present in bones, joints, blood, muscles and cartilage. It is the most important protein for a healthy-looking skin because it gives it elasticity and strength. Collagen makes up one third of the body’s total protein. As we get older our processes start to slow down and this also affects the production of collagen. Our “modern lifestyle” of high-sugar foods, pollution, smoking and excessive sun exposure all have a detrimental effect on collagen production. With collagen loss, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle, joints become stiff and painful, and bones become more fragile.
The structure and effectiveness of collagen for skin health:
Collagen is a complex protein made up of long fibers. The amino acids that make collagen include glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine. Collagen forms a fibrous network of cells in the middle layer of the skin – the dermis. New cells grow in this network, and as collagen production decreases, the skin loses its structure and becomes sagging. Collagen is found naturally in most animal proteins; However, plant foods contain many important nutrients that help our body produce collagen.
(Also read: 15 Foods to Include in Your Diet for Healthy Skin)
Nutrients of concern for collagen production:
Amino Acids: Contains 20 amino acids that make up all the proteins in our body. 9 of these are called essential because they are not produced in our body and we need to eat through food. Amino acids are important for collagen production and are found in large amounts in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, peanuts and tofu, cottage cheese, soy protein, organ meats, fish and dairy foods.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C regulates the synthesis of collagen. In addition, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and its role in maintaining and promoting skin health is well documented. Eating foods rich in vitamin C every day not only helps maintain a healthy skin, but also a strong immune system. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, papaya, greens, tomatoes, berries, red and yellow peppers.
Zinc: An essential nutrient for the production of small amounts of essential mineral collagen. It increases production, repairs cells and protects against damage. It activates proteins to form collagen. Oysters, milk, pumpkin seeds, almonds are some of the best sources of zinc.
Manganese: It helps in collagen production by activating enzymes which increase the production of amino acids – proline present in collagen. In small quantities, manganese is available, such as cereals, nuts, beans, brown rice, vegetables and spices.
Copper: It works by activating enzymes needed for collagen production; These enzymes help the collagen fibers to connect with other fibers, forming a wire frame that supports the tissue. Whole grains, beans, nuts, shellfish, legumes, green leafy vegetables, and dried prunes are all good sources of copper.
(Read more: 10 Foods for Bright Skin)
We have a lot of collagen in our body, but many have given birth to collagen supplements in order to look young forever or maintain healthy glowing skin. Some studies have shown that collagen has a beneficial effect on osteoarthritis and the mobility of athletes. A study published in the journal Nutrients in 2018 found that eating collagen peptide improves the hydration, elasticity and wrinkles of human skin. Collagen supplements are available on the market as isolates.
So should we take the easy way out? Decades of scientific research and data have shown that taking nutrients in their natural form is much more beneficial to the overall health of our body. Supplements are fine for short periods of time under professional guidance but are not the answer to a healthy balanced diet made with fresh ingredients.
Skin health is also a result of this
7-9 hours of good sleep
Want healthy glowing skin? Eat healthy, be happy and move that body.